So, I had two sets of predictions for NXR South. On Monday, I said there was no way that on the girls side, Keller and Southlake Carroll (SLC) girls would not make it out. I felt Keller was just way too good and SLC had a combination of being good and having history on their side.Then, yesterday I let the weight of NXR get to me. I eventually fell to the pressure and said NEITHER Keller and SLC would qualify.
So, my predictions were wishy washy and full of drama. Well, at the end of the day, that's because that is exactly how NXR South has historically been, including today's races.
So, when it seemed like I lost my composure and quite frankly my mind, Keller and the SLC girls proved me that the best bet is to follow my first thought. Both teams were able to prove they would live up to my "initial thoughts", but mid race it looked like the race was all up in the air and the race wasn't without the drama that NXR South brings.
SLC looked strong mid race, but it wasn't until the second half and the push to the finish line that they began to cross the line in a solid position. However, the Hebron girls seemed to be having the team race of their season. Hebron was coming across the line just as much of a flurry as SLC. Then there was the almighty Keller squad. They came through the line with their first three before SLC and Hebron. It looked like it was going to be another Keller type race when they came in 7th, 10th, and 14th. However, that is when the race got interesting because Hebron was playing dirty and got their 4 right in there and it looked like they were on their way to winning the NXR title.
"We just refocused after state and came out here and kinda grinded it out."
Cate Tracht - Southlake Carroll senior
Then, the NXR South madness began. SLC would bring their 4 and 5 in then then Keller eventually did the same thing. As finishers poured across the finish line, pushing the Hebron 5 further and further back, that would seal the deal for SLC and Keller to get the two auto bids and put Hebron in the dreadful wait for the other NXRs in the coming weeks and see if they can get an at large wild card bid.
Individually, only one thing was a given and that was London Culbreath. Culbreath did what was expected and she ran away with the NXR South title for the second straight year with a 17:33.55, just tenths of a second off of last year's winning time.
"Our goal has been to get on the podium this year at Nationals, and that's not gonna change."
Abbey Santoro - Keller senior
The individual race was going on behind Culbreath as some of Texas' best were duking it out. Literally, about eight girls were fighting it out for four spots and it was a true battle. There were two 2016 NXN qualifiers in that pack with UIL 6A champ Halena Rahmaan and TAPPS 6A champ Elizabeth Reneau. At the two mile, Culbreath came through followed by 5A runner-up Carrie Fish, Rahmaan, Quinn Owen, Ashlyn Hillyard, and Reneau.
"Honestly, I was chasing London trying to stay close to her and not let the gap get too big."
Carrie Fish - Frisco Liberty senior
The last mile, proved to be one of many moving parts as Fish would follow through and hold her runner-up position and she said, "Honestly, I was chasing London trying to stay close to her and not let the gap get too big." Something happened in the last 1800m and Rahmaan was unable to finish the race. The next qualifiers making up the South Team would be Owen, Hillyard, and Allison Wilson.
So, the South qualifying teams and the South team of individual qualifiers are set for Oregon and will be a formidable team to deal with.